News Local/State

Remembering Longtime Musician, Instructor Dan Perrino

By Jeff Bossert

A longtime contributor to Champaign-Urbana’s music scene, and arts education has died.

Former University of Illinois faculty member and Urbana High School band director Dan Perrino passed away Friday morning at Carle Hospital.  He was 91.

University Laboratory High School music teacher Rick Murphy says he became great friends with Perrino throughout the years, including performances with the Medicare 7,8, or 9 jazz ensemble. 

Murphy says the group started at a time of unrest around the U of I campus following the Vietnam War.

"The best way to describe a tireless supporter of young people, of people of all ages, really, but he especially loved energetic young people, and people that had a zest for sharing, being friendly, and opening their hearts to certainly music, but all things, and was the most supportive boss that I have ever seen."

Perrino's experience at the university extended beyond music, as he worked at the Dean of Students office for years.

"He was supported and loved by the entire campus," said Murphy.

Perrino was also known for leading a sing-along at Champaign’s Virginia Theatre in more recent years, during the annual New Year’s Eve Chorale Concert.

Maureen Reagan of the U of I’s Krannert Center for the Performing Arts says Perrino made a huge difference in her own education.  Reagan says she’s never known someone to be such a music educator from the heart.

"And it wasn't about that people should know something, it's that their lives were going to be richer if they were able to experience the arts," she said.  "He wasn't about experiencing it in a certain way, he wanted people to explore and find out that they could enrich their lives through the arts.  And he just did that over, over, and over again." 

Survivors include his wife Marge, three children, and three grandchildren. 

Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but Reagan says plans are in the initial phases for a public celebration of Perrino’s life and legacy.